Yesterday I took a quick break from performing on the fair circuit and did a senior show. This was a “monthly activity” for seniors at a retirement community. Most of these places need entertainment and host multiple entertainers a month to perform at things like monthly birthdays, holidays, etc.
If you’d like more info on performing senior shows check out my book How To Perform For Seniors which teaches you how to market and perform shows at these communities.
My current 40-45 minute show fits into the black case, which is briefcase sized.
The yellow case is my audio gear.
The show was put together to visually fill a little bit of space and not look like I’m just using flat handheld props that were selected because they easily fit into a briefcase.
The nice thing about this show is that it can be done using people from the audience, and it can also be done “no contact”, so no one from the audience joins me on the stage or handles any props.
Aside from any COVID restrictions, the no contact option is handy as sometimes you’ll have a less mobile group and it’s not easy to have people join you on stage. Having them interact from their seats is good, however if you physically go to them in the back row, a lot of the audience can’t see what’s happening. When you talk to them from the stage and the magic still happens onstage the whole audience can see what’s going on.
I’m still working on a redesign for my Applause Please trick.
This is my take on the liquid in light bulb effect, but instead of using a lamp, it uses an applause sign. This has been unavailable for a while as the Tim Rose who built them for me passed away about 2 years ago. I’m working with a new builder and should have it available in the near-ish future.
One of the changes that I’m working on is having it all battery operated. I’ve fought thing as I don’t like to rely on batteries, but I frequently get that suggestion. I think LED technology is catching up for the lumens that I need for the trick that can be run off of a 9 volt battery.
I should mention one of the reasons that I’m not using a rechargeable lithium battery is that you can’t fly with them. If the battery was built into the prop, you’d have to hand carry it onto a plane. Another thing is that I don’t trust myself to always charge it. With a built in battery, if you forget to charge it or don’t plug it in fully, you can’t do the trick. With a 9 volt battery, you just throw a fresh one in there and you’re good to go.
Another change I’m testing now is that I’ve rewired it so that the foot switch and hidden remote work together to so there is less secret pushing of the button on the remote control than in the current version of the trick that I’m using.
Hopefully these will be available by the end of the summer!
Yesterday I had a full day of driving around town performing at senior living facilities doing my show. They love booking in magic shows for April Fools Day, and you can do shows pretty much from 10 am to about 7 pm if you want to. The main limit is your set up, take down and travel time.
Doing a lot of shows in a short amount of time is a great chance to work on things. I’m working on my Briefcase Magic Show, so not a single piece, but how to get the stuff to gel together as a show.
Everything pictured above (included the applause sign) fits into the case and sets up and packs away in less than 10 mins.
I was able to get 45 minutes out of those props at every show today! I’m working on adding a joke between each trick, that’s adding a time to the show without adding props. The goal is to have 2 minutes of jokes between each trick, that ends up being 12 minutes of the show.
Last week was the first outing of the Briefcase show and it went pretty well. The whole show including the stands fit inside of the Pelican Briefcase. Here’s the show set up at the fair I was performing at last week:
The show uses a lot of three dimensional props, which is intentional. I think that a lot briefcase shows select material based on the prop being flat. Obviously that is a concern. But things like the applause sign, which is hollow can have things packed inside of it.
The whole show was done with me solo on stage, except for the second to last effect, which is a game show routine that uses three kids. I have a method for that routine that I haven’t tried yet, but probably should try so I know if it works or not.
I’m happy with how it’s turned out, and hoping to somehow figure out how to expand it to a 40-45 minute show, which would be ideal.
It’s been a while, but I think I’ve finally got my carry on magic show finished. This is a 30 minute show that fits in a briefcase and could be carry on luggage on an airplane. The case on the stand will go to my right and the applause sign is to my left when onstage.
I think the applause sign is something that adds some physical dimension to the show, so everything in it isn’t a flat handheld prop. The nice thing is while the applause sign is a large prop, it’s hollow, so that I can put things inside of it for travel.
Inside of the case when it’s set up for the show has a lot of free space, so nothing is too cramped inside. I do think I need to find a better way to store the fork and spoon trick, as it takes up a lot of space on the ledge in my case. I think I may make some sort of holder that’s on the inside of the lid of the case.
When the case is packed up, there’s not a lot room to spare:
I’m thinking I’m going to eliminate the stand for the applause sign and put a mic stand mount under it. That way all I can ask the venue for a mic stand and use that. I guess worst case scenario is that if they didn’t have a mic stand, I could simply set the applause sign on a chair or stool.
I’m trying is show out this week at a five day gig that I’m driving to, so I have my normal show with me as well as a backup in case I need it!
I love how people can look at the COVID restrictions and figure things out. A while ago I did a birthday party magic show in a small theater. The thing about this is that at the time, the show would have been against COVID restrictions to do in the family’s backyard. But if they did it indoors, in a theater, we could do the show. It doesn’t really make sense why this was OK, but outdoors wasn’t. I’m not going to get into that debate. When COVID first hit, I said I was going to follow whatever the local health code said, and this was allowed.
One switch I’ve made is I’m trying to have more props onstage at the beginning of the show. Normally it’s just my prop case and table. In 2019 I added the bowl on a stand to hold a ball of yarn and now in 2021 I’ve brought back my Applause Please trick (applause sign).
Visually that puts some stuff on the stage. While my show is still primarily hand held magic props, having something onstage for the audience to look at before the show makes it feel like something more. David Hira talks about this in his penguin magic lecture, I and really agree with him. Having something for the audience to look at and wonder what it does helps build excitement (in most instances).
Material cycles in and out of my show fairly frequently. One trick that has been out of the show for a while is my Applause Please trick. This is my version of milk in lightbulb that uses an applause sign instead of a lamp. I took this out of my show a bit after I … Continue reading “Closure…”
Material cycles in and out of my show fairly frequently. One trick that has been out of the show for a while is my Applause Please trick. This is my version of milk in lightbulb that uses an applause sign instead of a lamp. I took this out of my show a bit after I started selling it to magicians.
Currently I have a need for the trick in the show. In my color changing handkerchief routine at the end when the original handkerchief is gone, the audience is left missing some closure to the trick. What I’m doing is using the applause sign throughout the show, then when it comes to the end of the color changing handkerchief routine the silk reappears from the lightbulb.
I’m hoping the reappearance of the silk will be a better end of the routine for the audience. Always look at your show and try to find things that don’t feel right and try to fix them, don’t settle for just OK.
If you’ve ever seen my lecture, the main point of it is how can you take the magic that you do one step further. That next step could be method, could be presentation, or the look of the trick. That’s something I try to do with everything I do in my show. It’s this thinking … Continue reading “Taking it Further”
If you’ve ever seen my lecture, the main point of it is how can you take the magic that you do one step further. That next step could be method, could be presentation, or the look of the trick. That’s something I try to do with everything I do in my show.
It’s this thinking that’s led to the creation of all of my marketed tricks. For example in the Evaporation trick, I needed to make some liquid vanish for my liquid in light bulb trick which is marketed under the name Applause Please. This trick takes the milk in light bulb a step further.
I didn’t like the look of a milk pitcher and went out to search for other solutions. A “ghost bottle” wasn’t practical for what I was doing. After many different designs the Evaporation as it is now has created.
How are you going to take whatever you do a step further?